USC Aiken head basketball coach Vince Alexander has a history of developing point guards into leaders for the Pacers, and two more have recently signed to try to do the same.
Joining junior Grant Harris in the fall will be Rock Hill native Tyreece Brice and Valdosta, Georgia, native Rashad Lewis.
While 2014 Peach Belt Conference Tournament and NCAA Division II Southeast Regional most valuable player DeVontae Wright was a transfer, Brice and Lewis will follow the path of Harris and past Pacers like Re’mon Nelson and Sterling Council.
“We always try to get some real good high school players that can fit in with the transfers that we get in,” Alexander said.
He said that Brice fits the bill of being a “program kid” that has a chance to play early as an “explosive” option in the back court.
“I think we can use him not only at the point but also off the ball,” Alexander said. “He’s the type of guy who can get to the rim and dunk on you.”
Brice, out of South Pointe High School, was named to the South Carolina Basketball Coaches Association’s Class AAAA All-State team and also the North-South All-Star Game. Alexander said that those type of players would typically end up at mid-major Division I programs in the past, but the Pacers’ recent run of success – including a trip to the Division II Final Four this year – has gotten the attention of players like Brice.
“He’s one of the best players in the state this year,” Alexander said. “That’s the kind of high school kid we want to get. Years ago, we couldn’t get that kid.”
Lewis also comes in with an impressive résumé. While playing for Valdosta High School, the 5-foot-9 guard was listed among Georgia’s top 100 recruits and averaged nearly 20 points per game as a senior to go with 3.9 assists, 2.8 steals and 2.4 rebounds per contest.
“Very, very, very smart, high basketball IQ, very good passer,” Alexander said of Lewis. “He’s very good at the screen and roll, which we do a lot of.”
The recruiting class for the 2014-15 season is sure to grow in the coming months, with 10 seniors graduating from the Pacer program after the 2013-14 campaign. Only Harris and fellow juniors Hendrix Emu and Gavin Stephenson are set to return after the program’s deepest postseason run.
Jeremy Timmerman has a journalism degree from Mercer University. Follow him on Twitter @ASJTimm.